Check out how India can line-up for their crucial FIFA WC qualifiers, with Jeakson Singh and Anwar ai missing the games due to long-term injuries
After a break of a month, the Indian football team has returned to action. Sunil Chhetri and co are preparing for the most important FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers. The Blue Tigers begin their campaign against Kuwait in the second round after being drawn with Qatar, Kuwait, Afghanistan, and other teams. India vs Kuwait kicks off on 16th of November at 10 pm IST.
Stimac has already picked a 28-man likely squad for the forthcoming games, with the players already in training camp in Dubai. Even if the team is still well-balanced, it lacks the presence of both Anwar Ali and Jeakson Singh there. Stimac would be in a tough spot to find a suitable replacement with the youngsters out for long periods of time.
India is now on a losing stride, after having gone on an amazing 11 games without a loss this year. They lost their King’s Cup games with Lebanon and Iraq. Ultimately, they lost 4-2 to Malaysia in Merdeka Cup. It will be interesting to see if Stimac changes his system, given that the Blue Tigers are going to be facing some tough opponents in the next month. Having said that, let’s look at how Stimac can line the Blue TIgers without his two key players.
Igor Stimac, on paper, prefers a 4-2-3-1 formation, but should choose a 3-4-2-1. Igor Stimac will need to fill a hole left by Jeakson’s injury.
Anirudh Thapa can be joined by Suresh Singh Wangjam, Apuia Ralte, or Rohit Kumar to play in the centre. Stimac usually prefers Suresh Singh but Apuia Ralte’s performance at Mumbai City FC should also be considered.
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Apuia will be a great fit for Thapa. He can also advance the ball if he gains control of it. It will provide more attacking options for the forwards (Sahal, Chhangte, and Sunil Chhetri).
India is left without a defensive presence in Anwar Ali’s absence. Mehtab Singh, Sandesh Jhingan and other players could be in a similar situation as they were against Malaysia. India may find it more advantageous to utilise three centre-backs given the attacking capabilities of Poojary and Akash Mishra
Subhasish Bose makes the perfect fit as the center-back in this situation. Since he has shown his ability to play as a back-three for his club, Mohun Bagan Super Giant.
India vs Kuwait: India Predicted XI:
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Mehtab Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose, Nikhil Poojary, Akash Mishra, Apuia Ralte, Anirudh Thapa, Sahal Abdul Samad, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Sunil Chhetri
India vs Kuwait: 28-man probable squad
Goalkeepers: Amrinder Singh, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Vishal Kaith.
Defenders: Akash Mishra, Lalchungnunga, Mehtab Singh, Nikhil Poojary, Rahul Bheke, Roshan Singh, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose.
Midfielders: Anirudh Thapa, Brandon Fernandes, Glan Martins, Apuia Ralte, Liston Colaco, Mahesh Singh Naorem, Nandhakumar Sekar, Rohit Kumar, Sahal Abdul Samad, Suresh Singh Wangjam, Udanta Singh.
Forwards: Ishan Pandita, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Manvir Singh, Rahul KP, Sunil Chhetri, Vikram Partap Singh.